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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Overpass Workshop

Uploaded: May 20, 2014

I attended the Workshop on the proposed bicycle overpasses on Bollinger Canyon Road and Crow Canyon Road. I thought the workshop started at 6:30 pm, but when I checked online at 6:10, the announcement said it started at 6 pm. So I rushed over to the Community Center and arrived about 20 minutes late.

I missed the "Welcome and Introductions," but came in time for the "Virtual Site Tour," which was a slideshow with photos and maps of the locations for the overpasses and why they are needed. I noticed that the slides had "From 2009 IHT Concept Plan" at the bottom.

I asked the presenter, Josh Mello from Alta Planning if this wasn't already voted on a few years ago. He said those were conceptual plans, and that planning takes a long time. Hmm yes, it's déjà vu all over again.

There were about 25 people attending the workshop, but three were City Staff and two were the consultants from Alta Planning, which specializes in planning "active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities.

About half of the residents attending were cyclists and were interested in the practical aspects of the overpass for safely crossing Bollinger Canyon Road or Crow Canyon Road without having to wait for traffic to stop. Others were motorists who wanted to keep the traffic flowing on these busy streets without having to stop at multiple lights and intersections.

We split into two groups to brainstorm ideas on features for each overpass. My group started with Bollinger Canyon Road. One of the men at my table was wearing a cycling jersey for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. I asked him his name and he gave me his card, Derek Liecty, Bicycle Consultant/Advocate.

We discussed access to the overpass by bike, stairs, or elevator, and getting on or off the Iron Horse Trail to access buildings in Bishop Ranch or the sidewalk. I suggested a second story overpass connecting the City Hall with the Library. The consultant liked that idea, but one of the folks at my table said kids might use it for skateboarding.

The second half of the workshop was taken up with a Visual Preference Survey. Anyone concerned that the overpasses would be eyesores, should take this survey. It includes photos of 18 possible bridge/overpass designs, with a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being worst and 5 being best, for Design, Materials, and Color.

I rated most of the Designs 2 or 3. I tended to give higher numbers for Materials and Color, even if I didn't like the Design. One of the choices looked like the bike bridge over South San Ramon Creek from Mangos Drive to the back of Cal High, which is up the street from me.

So when I got back from the Workshop I took some photos of that overpass. I'm posting one of the better photos. This is a small bridge and not in the center of town, so its looks are not very important, but at least it's another example.



I asked if the Visual Preference Survey could be put online for residents to take. I suppose residents who want input into the design and appearance of the overpasses could ask for a copy of it. I'd like to see it put on Open San Ramon. This is exactly the kind of survey residents should be able to take online.

There is another workshop scheduled for June 9th. If you want to learn more about the plans for the bicycle overpasses, why they are needed, and how they should look, you should attend that meeting and add your input to the process.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Trudy France, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 21, 2014 at 9:26 am

Anyone know the relative economics of an underpass (e.g., a big culvert) vs. an overpass? Other IHT overpasses (like Ygnacio) have appeared to be remarkably over-built.

A culvert would be briefly more disruptive during construction, I suppose. But then, if just the planning takes five years ...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on May 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

Just what we need to be spending taxpayer money on. Bike trails for the elitist spandex wearing lefties who think they're on a mission to save the planet. Just thinking about the expense and the likely United Nations financing behind it makes me want to upchuck my breakfast.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Trudy France, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Hmmmm ... I knew cyclists dressed funny, of course -- I'm not blind -- but I never understood that it was a political statement. Thanks, Mr. right! I bet there are many things you just know about the world that would also be news to most of us -- like UN funding of our local pedestrian walkways. I had No Idea.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Trudy,

An underpass would cost more and isn't feasible because the water table is too high there and the underpass could be subject to flooding.

Right, you are wrong. This is for anyone who wants to cross the street in safety. A bike or spandex is not required, thank goodness. I have a trike (not high tech or expensive), and fortunately no spandex.

Riding a bike or (in my case) an adult tricycle, is fun and good exercise. You might try it, Mr. Right. It could help alleviate your digestive problems.


Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on May 22, 2014 at 10:42 am

Just a few years ago, a bicyclist was killed at the intersection of the Iron Horse trail and Crow Canyon. Web Link

Motorists treat Crow Canyon and Bollinger like a freeway. Slow down people.

That Cal High bridge looks ghetto. Please, no more bridges like that. San Ramon is ghetto enough as it is.

The pedestrian bridge at the Pleasant Hill BART on Treat Blvd. and Jones Road looks good. It cost $6.8 million bucks though.

I'm guessing $6.8 million is probably too much for you guys, seeing as you tend to do things on the cheap all the time, like the time you guys put the white road barrier on Bollinger from Alcosta up to the top of the hill. You saved the trees in the median, good for you, but now Bollinger looks like a permanent construction zone. Why don't you plant some bigger bushes in front of it to hide it?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

SP,

That Cal High bridge needs to be maintained. I didn't post the photo of the north side, which is all rusty. It hasn't been painted in years or ever. I don't know who is responsible for maintaining that bridge. There was dog poop on it when I took the photos, but I adroitly avoided it.

The Pleasant Hill overpass and one on Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek were mentioned in the workshop as examples of good designs. I Googled the one on Ygnacio Web Link and I don't like it at all.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

spcwt-how much money should the city spend? Where does the money come from? (For Right-I have never seen any money come to Contra Costa cities for transportation projects).


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

I meant United Nations funding for transportation projects in Contra Costa cities.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

I meant United Nations funding for transportation projects in Contra Costa cities.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Resident,

I believe the money comes from Measure J and Measure C 1/2 cent gasoline tax, which is used to fund transportation improvements. You could check with the City's Transportation Dept. for more information.

SP,

I looked at your link and while it is tragic she died, I doubt an overpass would have helped prevent the accident. She was riding on the sidewalk and fell off the bike into the road where she was hit.

I wrote up a list of electrified crosswalks planned for this year and next year in a comment on my blog on "Touching Base with Harry Sachs." Web Link These appear to be a low cost option to improve safety at many more intersections, especially those near schools.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ginger Beeph, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 25, 2014 at 6:44 am

Regarding the overpass....as my Father used to say, "you have to remember NO is an answer". I am sorry the bikers will have to dismount and push a button but the vast majority of us do NOT want the visual blight these over crossings create. How many people have been struck versus how many cars have passed through those intersections? The previous bike fatality was NOT a result of crossing a busy intersection as the previous poster noted correctly. Those that are itching to build something need to move on....or maybe move altogether, to Dublin perhaps where they can watch the hillsides disappear with glee.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by 20/20, a resident of Danville,
on May 27, 2014 at 9:13 am

GB: blight? BLIGHT?? Dear me, such sensitive eyes!

Your comment gives me a big case of the blights. I, for one, hope they put a solar array atop the blighty bridge!



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